2017-07-12 / Front Page

Salisbury neighbors head to court

Toilet paper, property damage lead to dispute

Sara M. Capelli says charges that she and her son damaged a neighbor’s property “didn’t have to go this far.” 
JAMES HASKINS Sara M. Capelli says charges that she and her son damaged a neighbor’s property “didn’t have to go this far.” JAMES HASKINS A Midlothian woman will be in Chesterfield General District Court on July 14 to answer an accusation that she and her son vandalized their next-door neighbor’s property last month.

Sara M. Capelli, 41, has been charged with destruction of property with a value of less than $1,000, which is a Class 1 misdemeanor, as well as contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

In a criminal complaint filed by Elizabeth A. Ream, Capelli’s neighbor in the tony Salisbury community, Ream told authorities that the June 18 incident was the culmination of nearly two years of ongoing harassment by Capelli.

“For years, we have bore the brunt of being the next door neighbor of the scourge of our community,” the complaint reads. “We have taken the high road many, many times, not wanting to poke the dragon.”

Ream’s complaint accuses Capelli and her son of vandelizing her property with toilet paper and a lewd sign on June 18. It notes that she and her husband had video surveillance installed on the same day. Early the next morning, Ream’s complaint says the system recorded Capelli’s son with toilet paper.

Ream initially thought it was merely a teenage prank, she says in the complaint, until Capelli allegedly told another neighbor that she and her son had committed the vandalism together.

“We are scared, threatened and tired of being on the receiving end of someone who might need a [psychiatric evaluation],” Ream’s complaint reads.

Based on Ream’s sworn statement, District 12 Magistrate Kateland A. Woodcock issued Capelli a misdemeanor summons June 19.

Ream declined to comment when contacted by the Observer Monday morning and referred all questions about the case to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.

Capelli will be arraigned July 14 at 10:30 a.m. on the misdemeanor destruction of property charge. She also is scheduled to appear Aug. 1 in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court for the accusation of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Capelli acknowledged there has been “animosity” between her family and the Reams during the nine years they’ve been neighbors in Salisbury, an upscale community of about 1,600 homes nestled between Midlothian Turnpike and Robious Road.

Capelli lamented the fact that the situation is being resolved by the criminal justice system.

“It’s sad that in today’s society, instead of crossing the street to address a neighborhood concern, one would choose to file criminal charges,” she said in an emailed statement. “It didn’t have to go this far.”

Cara Klich, 18, who has babysat Capelli’s three sons for the past seven years, circulated a petition through the neighborhood that asks Ream to drop the criminal charges against Capelli.

The petition notes that Capelli has been active with the Salisbury Mothers Club and is active in the community.

It also references Capelli’s 15 years of work on behalf of several Republican politicians in Chesterfield.

“We believe that our neighborhood prides itself in being respectful, allowing us to work out concerns in a friendly manner,” reads the petition, which Klich said presently has more than 100 signatures.

“We have a very strong sense of community,” she added. “I’ve never heard of something like this being taken so seriously.” ¦

Correction: In earlier print and online versions of this story, we reported that a petition circulating in support of Sara Capelli states that Capelli had served on the board of directors at the Salisbury Country Club. According to the country club, Capelli has not served as a member of the board of directors. 

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